Xbox 360 Open Tray Error [SOLVED]

Are you struggling to start your games because of the Xbox 360 Open Tray Error? Here are some simple solutions for you!

The Xbox 360, an older console with a legacy of gaming experiences, occasionally encounters its share of challenges. Among these, the Xbox 360 Open Tray Error is an irritating obstacle. This Error disrupts the seamless reading of game discs, frustratingly showcasing “Open Tray” or “Reading” messages without progressing to the actual gameplay. In this article, I’ll help you get rid of this Error.

Open Tray
Open Tray (Image Credits: Emopulse)

Key Takeaways

  • The Error prevents proper reading of game discs, displaying “Open Tray” or “Reading” messages without loading the game.
  • Causes of Xbox 360 Open Tray Errors include – Dirty/misaligned laser lens, disc debris, drive issues, software glitches, and component wear.
  • Methods to Fix can include – Cleaning the disc/lens, tilting the console, forcing open the tray, blowing air into cords, clear the cache.


Why Does The Xbox 360 Open Tray Error?

Here are the main reasons for the Xbox 360 Open Tray Error in concise point form:

  • Dirty or misaligned laser lens.
  • Dust, scratches, or debris on the game disc.
  • Mechanical issues within the disc drive.
  • Firmware or software glitches.
  • Wear and tear on the console’s components.

How Do You Fix The Xbox 360 Open Tray Error?

We suggest you insert a different game disc, preferably one you know is in good condition and has worked previously. Please wait for the console to attempt reading the new disc and observe whether it successfully recognizes and loads the game. Here’s a list of the potential fixes:

  1. Restart Xbox
  2. Clean The Disc
  3. Clean The Laser Lens
  4. Tilt The Console
  5. Gently Forcing Open The Tray
  6. Blow Air Into The Power Cords
  7. Clear System Cache

Restart Xbox

I know this is the most basic step, but we must mention it since sometimes the most basic steps are the most important. Try restarting your device and seeing if the error goes away.

Updating The Xbox

Sometimes these bugs are weeded out in the updates, and although the updates for the Xbox 360 are rare, they still can sometimes happen.

Check Out:

Clean The Disc

Cleaning a game disc can aid in fixing the Error by enhancing readability. Properly cleaning the disc removes these obstacles, facilitating smoother interaction between the disc and the console’s hardware.

To clean a game disc for your Xbox 360, begin by turning off and unplugging the console. Inspect the disc for dirt, fingerprints, or scratches, then wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling it. Using a soft, lint-free cloth lightly dampened with distilled water or isopropyl alcohol, wipe the disc’s surface from the center outward in straight lines to avoid further scratches.

If needed, gently clean the edges with a moistened cotton swab. Allow the disc to air dry before reinserting it into the console to see if the issue is resolved. While cleaning can enhance readability, it might not address all problems, especially severe scratches or damage.

Clean The Laser Lens

Cleaning the laser lens can address the error by improving the console’s ability to read discs, and personally, this is the one that fixed it while testing, the most number of times for me. Over time, the lens can accumulate dust and dirt, resulting in reading difficulties.

Here’s how to clean the lens:

  1. Turn off and unplug your Xbox 360 for safety, open the disc tray, and leave it open during cleaning.
  1. Insert a DVD lens cleaning kit for game consoles into the disc tray. Follow the instructions provided with the kit.
  1. If the cleaning kit doesn’t resolve the issue, dampen the tip of a cotton swab with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol (90% or higher).
  1. Carefully access the lens area of the console and wipe the lens with the dampened cotton swab using light, even motions. Avoid applying excessive pressure to prevent damage.
    Lens – (Image Credits: Emopulse)
  1. Use a soft, lint-free microfiber cloth to gently wipe the console’s exterior, removing any dust or dirt that may have accumulated.
    MicroFiber Cloth
    MicroFiber Cloth – (Image Credits: Emopulse)
  1. Remove the DVD lens cleaning disc from the tray and close the disc tray, plug in the Xbox 360, and turn it on to test.

Tilt The Console

The idea behind tilting the console is to help the laser lens, responsible for reading discs, adjust its position. The assumption is that gently lifting the front of the console while attempting to read the disc can prompt the lens to recalibrate its angle, potentially improving its ability to read the disc.

Xbox Top
Xbox Top – (Image Credits: Emopulse)

Gently lift the front of the console by around 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) while the disc is spinning and being read. Before carefully setting the console on a flat surface, maintain this raised position briefly. Observe the screen to see if the game starts loading successfully after the tilt. Exercise caution while lifting the console, avoiding excessive tilting to prevent stability issues.

Gently Forcing Open The Tray

Although I don’t fully comprehend this, this approach targets a probable controller problem within the drive. Pushing the tray inward triggers a self-check sequence, enabling the industry to recalibrate and rectify any laser misalignment.

Here’s how to go about this:

  1. Turn off the Xbox console and remove any discs.
  2. Start the console with the disc tray open.
    Disc Tray Opem
    Disc Tray Open – (Image Credits: Emopulse)
  3. Gently push the disc tray back in with force.
  4. Wait for the tray to pause and continue.
  5. Reboot the Xbox console.
  6. Test the disc drive for standard functionality.

Blow Air Into The Power Cords

This method aims to improve the console’s overall functionality, including the disc drive’s operation. Dust and debris can hinder the proper movement of components, such as the disc tray or the laser lens mechanism. By using compressed air to dislodge and remove these particles, you may enhance the drive’s performance, allowing it to read discs more effectively and reducing errors.

  1. Turn off and unplug the device.
  2. Gather a can of compressed air for electronics cleaning.
  3. Identify openings or gaps for air entry.
    Power Area
    Power Area – (Image Credits: Emopulse)
  4. Hold the can upright.
  5. Apply short bursts of air.
  6. Maintain a safe distance.
  7. Repeat for different areas.
  8. Allow settling time.
  9. Reconnect and test the device’s functionality.

Clear System Cache

After running some tests and looking into the issue, I have concluded that as your console operates, it stores temporary data that can sometimes become corrupted or cause conflicts.

Here are the steps to clear the system cache on the Xbox 360:

  1. Navigate to “System Settings” from the Xbox 360 dashboard.
    System Settings
    System Settings – (Image Credits: Emopulse)
  2. Access “Memory” in the System Settings menu.
    Memory – (Image Credits: Emopulse)
  3. Select the storage device where you want to clear the cache.
  4. Press Y on your controller for device options.
  5. Choose “Clear System Cache” from the options.
    Clear System Cache
    Clear System Cache – (Image Credits: Emopulse)
  6. Confirm the cache-clearing action.
  7. Wait for the process to complete.
  8. Reboot the console when prompted.
  9. Test games and applications for improved performance.

What Do I Do If None Of The Fixes Work?

If you’ve tried the various troubleshooting methods mentioned earlier and are still encountering the Xbox 360 Open Tray Error, don’t fret. Sometimes, these issues can be persistent and may require further action. Here’s what to consider if none of the fixes have yielded positive results:

  1. Contact Xbox Support:

If you’ve exhausted your efforts to resolve the Open Tray Error on your own, it’s time to enlist the help of Xbox Support. To reach out, utilize the methods mentioned earlier: the Xbox Support website, live chat, phone support, social media, or the console’s “Contact Us” section.

  1. Professional Repair:

If the problem persists despite your best attempts and Xbox Support’s guidance, consider sending your console to an authorized repair center or a qualified technician specializing in Xbox repairs. They can diagnose the problem more accurately and implement necessary repairs to get your console back in working order.

  1. Replacement Consideration:

If your Xbox 360 is significantly outdated or repair costs seem prohibitive, a replacement might be worth considering. The Xbox 360 is an older console, and investing in a newer generation Xbox model could provide a more reliable and up-to-date gaming experience.


Finally, in classic gaming, the Xbox 360 Open Tray Error has earned its place as a well-known adversary, interrupting our gaming sessions with its unwelcome presence. However, understanding its causes is the key to unlocking solutions. The Error’s sources are diverse, whether due to a dirty laser lens, disc debris, drive complications, software glitches, or component wear.

Fortunately, there’s hope in the form of various methods to tackle this challenge head-on. By embracing approaches like cleaning discs and lenses, tilting the console, gently coaxing the tray, blowing air into cords, and even clearing the cache, gamers can restore the smooth operation of their beloved Xbox 360 and return to the immersive gaming worlds it offers.

Also, Check:

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Force Open Disk Tray?

Gently forcing open the Xbox 360 disk tray can involve applying careful pressure on the front while the console attempts to eject.

How Do I Open My Disk Tray Without The Button?

Insert the paperclip into the pinhole and gently push it in, repeating as necessary to partially eject the drive bay for gripping. Slowly and cautiously retract the drive bay by pulling it until fully extended, being cautious if resistance is felt.

Does Toothpaste Fix Xbox 360 Discs?

Toothpaste is effective for addressing shallow scratches and scuffs on the reflective side of the disc, but not for deep scratches. Avoid rubbing scratches on the label side and be aware that irreparable damage might have occurred. For deep scratches, it's advisable to consider professional disk repair services.

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